(The Center Square) – The Clinton County Commission’s audit and Clinton County Clerk, Missouri Democratic Auditor Nicole Galloway found late filing and payment of payroll taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, which gave a rating of “poor”.
The audit resulted from reports made in September and October 2020 to the Auditor’s Whistleblower Hotline regarding the county’s payroll and related benefits processing and county bill payment delays. An initial review led to further investigation, and the auditor accepted a request from the Clinton County Commission to conduct an audit.
The late tax filings resulted in penalties and interest of $73,912 for county taxpayers. The county still owes the IRS at least $142,863 in overdue amounts, penalties and interest for the 2019, 2020 and 2021 tax years.
“My audit revealed numerous deficiencies in several areas of county finances, particularly in the operation of the county clerk’s office,” Galloway said in a statement announcing the audit results. “Significant action is needed to address the issues uncovered during the audit, and we have made recommendations to county officials for each of our findings. I urge these officials to move forward with recommendations to better manage taxpayers’ resources and restore public confidence.
Clinton County has a population of 20,503 and is located in the northern part of the Kansas City metropolitan area.
In addition to tax filing failures, the audit found that some employees were either underpaid or overpaid after the county’s pay cycle changed from bi-weekly to semi-monthly, and the clerk failed to account for this change. The audit found that the county clerk failed to verify employee pension contributions withheld from paychecks to ensure they were accurate and sent promptly to the respective pension plans.
A “poor” rating indicates that significant operational improvements are needed. The Galloway office said a follow-up review is planned to monitor the county’s implementation of the audit recommendations.
In 2019, the Galloway office discovered that a former accountant had embezzled $286,000 from the Plattsburg Special Road district in Clinton County. Road District Secretary and Treasurer Ava Langer pleaded guilty in federal court. She was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to repay $100,000.